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Hobbit Pub Saved By Actors Stephen Fry and Sir Ian McKellen

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the gandalf-the-generous dept.

Censorship 169

Fluffeh writes "Recently the Hobbit Pub in England was sued for rights infringement, but it seems Stephen Fry and Sir Ian McKellen are going to re-pony-up the cash to keep the pub alive. Landlady Stella Roberts said she had been shocked by the actors' offer. She said: 'I had a telephone call on Saturday evening, while we were trading, from Stephen Fry's business partner and manager. That's when he told me. I was very shocked. They've said as soon as they finish filming they would like to come down and visit the pub.' However Ms Roberts said she was not celebrating just yet. She added: 'Until everything is in black and white, on paper, we're going to be a bit reserved because it could be $100 this year and $20,000 next year.'"

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Pub? Where? What? (-1, Redundant)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447873)

Okay... why is Hobbit Pub worth mentioning on Slashdot in the first place?

Re:Pub? Where? What? (5, Funny)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447879)

Because it comes in PINTS!

Re:Pub? Where? What? (-1, Troll)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447885)

Not funny, not an answer to the question... please try again.

Re:Pub? Where? What? (5, Funny)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447899)

Because IP law is a thing of interest to nerds, and they believe that it's stuff that matters. But maybe not to you, sooooo, quick, let's bicker on the Internets now because your preferences aren't the same as everyone elses. Your whiney post has been somewhat legitimized by my humorous comment; you're welcome, no charge, it appears you could use a little bit of a sense of humor, and I have a little extra to share with the less fortunate. ^_^

Re:Pub? Where? What? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448295)

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Re:Pub? Where? What? (5, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448079)

The vast majority of Slashdot readers probably thought is was both funny and a much better answer to your (cave?) troll than was deserved.

If you can't see the point or the humor the problem may not be whether the post belongs on Slashdot, but whether you do...

Re:Pub? Where? What? (5, Funny)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448327)

It's the Hobbit pub. It comes in half pints, you insensitive clod!

Re:Pub? Where? What? (4, Funny)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448421)

It's the Hobbit pub. It comes in half pints, you insensitive clod!

Is that a European or an American hobbit? (An American Hobbit is only 0.42 pints).

Re:Pub? Where? What? (4, Funny)

Dave Emami (237460) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448625)

It's the Hobbit pub. It comes in half pints, you insensitive clod!

"Do you think they'll make jokes about our height?"
"Of course not! If we behave like tall people, we'll be treated tall people!"
"What'll it be, gents?"
"We'd like a half pint of ale, a plate of short ribs with small fries, and a short order of shrimp!"
"That's tellin' 'im, Mr. Frodo!"
(From The Ring and I [flickr.com] , musical parody of the Bakshi version of Lord of the Rings, in Mad Magazine ~1978).

Re:Pub? Where? What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448967)

Half pints, surely for hobbits?

Re:Pub? Where? What? (4, Funny)

farrellj (563) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447891)

I see you are a new user here...we can let it slide this time, but any real /. user would understand why this is a story here!!!!

ttyl
          Farrell

Re:Pub? Where? What? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39447901)

Because Hobbits are always relevant. Always.

Re:Pub? Where? What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448323)

And especially so in the context of rule 34 [libraryofmoria.com] .

Re:Pub? Where? What? (4, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447917)

OK, keep in mind the serious geekness of professing a love for LotR. Add to that an IP conflict in that this woman was ignored for years and now is gettin hammered on by the IP cops.

I could go on, but you get the general drift...

Re:Pub? Where? What? (5, Insightful)

Viceice (462967) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447939)

Because it's a matter of freedom... of speech AND beer!

Re:Pub? Where? What? (-1, Redundant)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448017)

Okay, mods, that's a new one... you can't call the First Post "Redundant".

Re:Pub? Where? What? (4, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448067)

Okay, mods, that's a new one... you can't call the First Post "Redundant".

Obviously, you can. Are you doubting the evidence of your own eyes?

Re:Pub? Where? What? (5, Funny)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448219)

It's redundant in that practically every story has at least one post saying how it's a nonstory. The guy claiming this one to be a nonstory is particularly off base in that the story involves Lord of the Rings, intellectual property law, and beer... the only way it could be more relevant to Slashdot's collective interests is if the ghost of Steve Jobs was found drinking there with Linus Torvalds.

Re:Pub? Where? What? (4, Funny)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448563)

Either Jobs or Torvalds would need to be using a car analogy.

Re:Pub? Where? What? (5, Insightful)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448981)

One does not simply walk into Mordor...

Re:Pub? Where? What? (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449011)

Yes they should have driven.

Re:Pub? Where? What? (1)

Y2KDragon (525979) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449137)

One does not simply walk into Mordor...

No, you need a reservation.

Re:Pub? Where? What? (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448559)

That's not new. It happens all the time and has for years.

Re:Pub? Where? What? (3)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448083)

Hobbits AND an IP infringement lawsuit AND beer! How can you even question this story? It's one of the most typical of /. stories up at the moment...

Re:Pub? Where? What? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448649)

Okay... why is Hobbit Pub worth mentioning on Slashdot in the first place?

Simple because some yankie tosser thinks he can tell the rest of the world they cant use a word in a name typical bulshie frigging twat

Re:Pub? Where? What? (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449283)

Because geeks

Bah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39447889)

Good on them for bailing her out. Nobody wants some lady running a small pub to have to deal with harassment over something goofy like this.

Though one can't help but wonder what happens now, when some dope comes along and names their daycare business, "Hogwarts".

Re:Bah. (3, Insightful)

Viceice (462967) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447927)

The difference here is, from TFA:

The pub in Bevois Valley, which is popular with students, has traded with the name for more than 20 years.

That pub existed wayyy before the movies made the franchise famous. It's not like they decided to name the business to ride on the films' fame.

Re:Bah. (4, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447961)

True and in general I think it is a pretty dick move, but they are using images from the movies on their websites which I think is a bit of a no no.

Re:Bah. (3, Insightful)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448163)

So if I'm going to a pub, and it has Coca-Cola posters, than Coca-Cola can sue them ?
It's a theme, that's all.

I agree that paying some royalties, would solve this problem, but I'm sure the pub would do that, if asked, and if the cost was reasonable.
However, in this case : they are just being fined into oblivion, after 20 years.

However, this is not about the pub : it's a cheap way for the film producer to get the film under attention. And judging for slashdot , it's working.

Re:Bah. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448197)

So if I'm going to a pub, and it has Coca-Cola posters, than Coca-Cola can sue them ?

Probably. However, usually Coca-Cola pays people to display their posters. It's called ad-ver-tise-ment.

However, in this case : they are just being fined into oblivion, after 20 years.

If by "fined into oblivion" you mean

Producer Paul Zaentz told the BBC trademark law dictated it had to act against infringements of its brands, but were open to licensing the pub to use them.

He said: "When it's an established business, we like to get the company to acknowledge they are using our trademarks, stop selling infringing articles and then we will grant them a licence for a nominal fee - approximately $100 a year.

Please, go away and take your stupid with you before it rubs off on others.

Re:Bah. (4, Informative)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447969)

The difference here is, from TFA:

The pub in Bevois Valley, which is popular with students, has traded with the name for more than 20 years.

That pub existed wayyy before the movies made the franchise famous. It's not like they decided to name the business to ride on the films' fame.

Perhaps not, but they certainly started selling stuff with the images of the characters from the movie including putting Elijah Woods face on things. That's what prompted the legal action.

Cite needed (4, Interesting)

Shauni (1164077) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448199)

Perhaps not, but they certainly started selling stuff with the images of the characters from the movie including putting Elijah Woods face on things. That's what prompted the legal action.

I haven't seen any indication that the character image infringement issues were what "really" prompted the action. If that were so, this would be a non-story now (since they've removed all copyrighted pictures from their website and fliers) The copyright infringement may be where the pub was most definitively in the wrong, but it is far from the core of the issue.

Re:Bah. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448241)

Maybe so, but the people suing don't have the rights to the images of the characters from the movies.

Re:Bah. (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448973)

there was a "The Lord Of The Rings" [imdb.com] movie done before then, 1978 it was released... was filmed, but rotoscoped to look like animation...

Re:Bah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39449181)

IIRC it was shite.

the issue is not the name (1, Insightful)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447979)

The pub uses (used?) images from the movies on its loyalty cards.

So yeah, they decided to ride on the films fame to bolster the pub's business.

Re:Bah. (1)

sgunhouse (1050564) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448081)

You mean, it wasn't famous long before the movies? Duh.

Re:Bah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448309)

That pub existed wayyy before the movies made the franchise famous. It's not like they decided to name the business to ride on the films' fame.

I think I remember hearing once there was a book or something the films were loosely based on. Do you think that could have been written before the pub opened?

And I was hoping they'd rename it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39447925)

Something like Lord Smoked Meat and Fish's Pub and Hotel Casino.

What the bloody goddamned fuck? (3, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447947)

This needs to stop, now

The word "Hobbit" predates Tolkein (the real one) by a good century. The prefix "hob" (from "hobbe"), with a variety of faerie-folksy suffixes, predates that by another three centuries - At least.

JRR knew all this perfectly well, and never claimed exclusive rights to a common word used to describe the wee people of mythology. Only these asshats that have tried to cash in on Grand-dad's legacy have so poor of a grasp of the work of their ancestor as to claim it as a "copyright". He, as a proper good ol' Don, would no doubt have outright disowned his fool-descendants for their ignorance.

Sad, really, and just one more reason we need to get rid of this entire BS charade we call "intellectual property" ASAP.

Re:What the bloody goddamned fuck? (5, Informative)

batkiwi (137781) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448011)

1. I agree this is petty bullshit.

That said...

2. The pub has likenesses FROM THE MOVIE. "It features characters from Tolkien's stories on its signs, has "Frodo" and "Gandalf" cocktails on the menu, and the face of Lord of the Rings film star Elijah Wood on its loyalty card."

The name "hobbit" is only about 1% of the issue.

Re:What the bloody goddamned fuck? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448165)

2. The pub has likenesses FROM THE MOVIE. "It features characters from Tolkien's stories on its signs, has "Frodo" and "Gandalf" cocktails on the menu,

So what? Are names now subject to copyright?

Re:What the bloody goddamned fuck? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448233)

No, definitely not. However, the image of a character from the movie is definitely copyrightable, and the names can be trademarked in the context of the movie. So if you just happened to be named Frodo, you could use your name all you want, unless you attempted to present some connection with the movie (or possibly the book).

dom

Re:What the bloody goddamned fuck? (0, Flamebait)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448877)

I gather you have never heard of fair use. Segements of the movie many hundreds even thousands of images are fair use, let alone a single fucking one out of quarter a million images and you know that, liar. Just as paragraphs of books are fair and clips of music are fair.

The greed of the pigoplist shitheads is just getting out of control with blatant abuses of the law.

Re:What the bloody goddamned fuck? (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449165)

I gather you have never heard of fair use.

Congratulations, you are a big fucking idiot. There's nothing in fair use which permits the use of someone else's IP for your own economic benefit. Fair use is for education and critique. You may make full copies of any materials needed for a formal educational lesson and copy as much as needed of any work for critique. Nothing in there says "you may use small clips, stills, and other unique characteristics from privately owned works to advertise your pub"

Re:What the bloody goddamned fuck? (4, Informative)

Tim C (15259) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449203)

I gather you have never heard of fair use.

I gather you're not from the UK, or at least are not familiar with our copyright laws. There is no "fair use" provision. There is a "fair dealing" [copyrightservice.co.uk] provision, but by my reading of the details this does not fall under it.

Re:What the bloody goddamned fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448039)

Yeah, but if you visit their website you'll see the pub name is not the only problem here. They have drinks named after stuff from the books, and even images from the movies. This isn't to say they're right or wrong, but what they're doing is not only against the law, it pisses off some people with deep pockets and lawyers to spare. Actors or not, my bet is the pub will strike a deal to keep the name but change everything else.

Re:What the bloody goddamned fuck? (4, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448041)

Sad, really

The sad part is that you actually believe your childish little rant has any bearing on the issue. You don't You're absolutely clueless.

That word "Hobbit" predates JRR is irrelevant. That words starting with "hob" have existed in even less relevant. (Words don't even exist in any human language to express how irrelevant the latter is.)

They aren't being sued because they used the word "Hobbit". They're being sued because they used the word Hobbit in association with The Lord of The Rings - Something JRR did claim exclusive right over by the very act of copyrighting his works. And by establishing a literary estate, he willingly and knowingly granted his descendents the right to enforce that claim.

They're also being sued because they used imagery from the movie on their website.

Re:What the bloody goddamned fuck? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448185)

If you're gonna complain about hob and hobbit, how about complaining about 'android' and it's natural contraction 'droid' (which oh great Lucas claims to have a trademark on.). In fact anyone who remembers Battletech from back in the day would know that they ran into similiar issues (I believe in fact over droid), which is what resulted in the change to battlemechs (from battledroids?), even though the former is just a rephrasing of the 'mecha' used in Robotech, off which the original battletech game was based.

Anyhow perhaps someone else will take this into a more in-depth and better researched topic so we can have some serious discussion over the rights to use words, and their restrictions in modern day IP.

Re:What the bloody goddamned fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448267)

"how about complaining about 'android' and it's natural contraction 'droid'"

How about complaining that while you were complaining about a contraction you failed to notice that it's is the contraction for "it is"? And besides, since there's no apostrophe, "droid" is not a contraction, natural or otherwise, it is an elision.

You're welcome.

Re:What the bloody goddamned fuck? (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448661)

And besides, since there's no apostrophe, "droid" is not a contraction, natural or otherwise, it is an elision.

Given that an elision is a kind of contraction (especially one that occurs when two words are joined together), elisions often are marked by apostrophes, and that "droid" clearly is a cut down form of "android" I can only conclude that you don't have the faintest fuck of a clue what you're talking about.

Re:What the bloody goddamned fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448189)

We should hobble them!

Re:What the bloody goddamned fuck? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448275)

But imagery from the LotR movies does not predate Tolkien, and the pub has been gratuitously using that in recent years.

Re:What the bloody goddamned fuck? (4, Insightful)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448471)

But imagery from the LotR movies does not predate Tolkien, and the pub has been gratuitously using that in recent years.

So why not tell them to stop doing that rather than trying to sue them out of existence?

Re:What the bloody goddamned fuck? (1)

binkzz (779594) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448939)

So why not tell them to stop doing that rather than trying to sue them out of existence?

FTFA:

He said: "When it's an established business, we like to get the company to acknowledge they are using our trademarks, stop selling infringing articles and then we will grant them a licence for a nominal fee - approximately $100 a year." It features characters from Tolkien's stories on its signs, has "Frodo" and "Gandalf" cocktails on the menu and the face of Lord of the Rings film star Elijah Wood on its loyalty card. A letter from SZC had asked the pub to remove all references to the characters.

They weren't sued out of existence, just asked to pay the license fee and stop using trademarked items.

Re:What the bloody goddamned fuck? (3, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449261)

If your business is going to be sued out of existence due to a $100 licensing fee, then you have bigger problems than trademark infringement.

Except (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448365)

They use actual screencaps and promotional materials ripped from the movies and associated trademarked/copyrighted works, without permission.

Re:What the bloody goddamned fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448963)

Doesn't stop Disney from stealing the work of others.

You can't win against big media because the court system is designed for those who have the most money.
Now, THAT needs to stop more than anything.

Misleading Cause (4, Informative)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447955)

It's not just the use of the name "The Hobbit" it's the use of Still Images from the LOTR movies in their promotional material. Essentially, these people are lifting copyrighted imagery and using it to promote themselves -- most definitely NOT cool and if I was one of the parties that ponied up hundreds of millions to make these films, I'd be a bit peeved by someone taking that work and using it without permission to make a profit.

I can only imagine that Stephen Fry and Sir Ian McKellen do not know the full story here and possibly think that this is a matter of a harmless pub merely using the word "Hobbit" in their name and have not seen the website or promotional material produced by this pub.

And for the record, the web site and promo material is completely amateur and quite tacky. Hopefully any money given to the pub to support them would mandate that they cease using imagery from the movies and perhaps use hand drawn illustrations by fans and artists who wish to contribute artwork for them to use.

Re:Misleading Cause (5, Insightful)

Zemran (3101) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447987)

Do you honestly think you know more about this than Steven Fry? Themed pubs are part of our culture and part of American culture and it is wrong that they are being litigated out of existence. They are not claiming to be official places, they are just pubs or restaurants and it is time that the legal system started defending them.

Re:Misleading Cause (3, Informative)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448035)

What cultural heritage do you have to show that illustrates why "The Hobbit Pub" should be able to take still images from the LoTR films and place them on their promotional material?

As I said in my post, I'm all for them using fan art and art inspired by the Hobbit and LoTR in general, that are original and either donated to them or placed under public license. But, taking images from the movie is indeed copyright infringement and they are making use of those works in order to profit from them. Can I make this distinction more clear? Is this not reasonable?

Re:Misleading Cause (1)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448921)

Is this not reasonable?

Not to me. The owner of a photograph is the picture taker, not the subject. Why should the same not be true for a screen grab?

Re:Misleading Cause (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449035)

I suggest you investigate your own question, because your current understanding is incorrect. An image containing copyrighted materials within it does fall under that copyrights restrictions, even tho the image may be owned by someone else.

Re:Misleading Cause (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448063)

Do you honestly think you know more about this than Steven Fry?

You have failed to establish any reason to think otherwise. Just because themed pubs are "part of your culture" doesn't mean that Fry is in fact aware of the story of this particular one.
 

Themed pubs are part of our culture and part of American culture and it is wrong that they are being litigated out of existence.

At least here in America they aren't, and I've never heard of any such movement in the UK either... so, [[citation needed]].
 

They are not claiming to be official places

And here's where you go even further away from reality - because the place in question does seek to imply that it's official, by using material from the movie on it's website.

Re:Misleading Cause (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448143)

After all, the British Empire was built on stealing other people's work - just ask India.

Who got their culture from the Greeks (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448525)

Everyone steals, what is your point?

Re:Misleading Cause (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449225)

the British Empire was built on stealing other people's work - just ask India.

Indeed. If you want an example, look at British trains from about the time of the industrial revolution - they're just like the ones they have in India.

Re:Misleading Cause (5, Informative)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448145)

If anyone had bothered to actually look up the details they were only asking for $100 to license the rights. As they also explained, they were legally obligated to license the copyrighted/trademarked material, since failure to pursue a known violation would allow anyone else to do the same. So they did the best thing they could, which is to preserve their IP and license the rights for a trivial fee.

$100 to use all of the likenesses and images from the movie to promote the pub? That sounds like a great deal to me. And as the OP said, it does sound like Fry doesn't know the real story, as ponying up $100 to pay for the license is just a PR stunt.

To quote the licensor:

Zaentz has said: “we’ve tried to be very gracious. We said in the letter [that was sent to Roberts], rather than engage in protracted and expensive litigation, we would prefer to resolve this matter amicably.

“We think asking for a nominal licensing fee is very reasonable. I think $100 would be about the maximum we would charge.”

He went on to say that if he is ever in the neighbourhood then he will stop by for a drink.

OH NO! HOW EVIL!

Besides, it's not American culture, it's a British novel and a British pub...

Re:Misleading Cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448179)

And for those $100 they got a huge promotion campaign all over the internet (did you ever hear about them before this story? Thought so) AND Stephen Fry's and Ian McKellen's endorsement.

It's a boon.

Re:Misleading Cause (4, Insightful)

MisterMidi (1119653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448263)

No, they weren't just asking for $100, they were demanding to stop using "Hobbit" and all references to the book. Only after all the bad press and the support of Stephen Fry, Neil Gaiman and Ian McKellen they offered licensing for $100 a year. That's what this story is about, they're saved by this offer. What you're quoting is from when they decided to license existing businesses for this nominal fee.

Re:Misleading Cause (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448447)

Honestly, what's wrong with that? Have you read the actual correspondence? No, me neither. For all we know it could have gone like this:

1. "Hey, we found some random British pub using a crap load of characters, stills, etc from our movies, we need to send them a legal letter telling them to stop or license our images". [if you don't believe this, GO TO THEIR SITE. Viggo Mortensen's face *still* features prominently]
2. "Oh, sounds like it's a college town pub that's been around for 20 years, why don't we just offer them a trivial licensing fee to keep everyone happy."
3. OMFG GIANT SCANDAL STORY GOT OUT AFTER FIRST LETTER IGNORING SECOND! EEEEVVVIIIILLLLLL!

Re:Misleading Cause (2)

MisterMidi (1119653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448637)

This pub was one of the first targets in a campaign by the Saul Zentz Company, demanding small businesses in the UK to stop using their trademarks. It doesn't matter in this case if the pub uses stills from the movies, because this is not Warner Bros sueing over copyrights of the Peter Jackson movies. The SZC acquired rights to the Hobbit and LOTR stories in '76, but never bothered enforcing them to small businesses, until well after Peter Jackson repopularized the stories (some 20 years after the pub started).

Re:Misleading Cause (1)

Y2KDragon (525979) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449105)

This pub was one of the first targets in a campaign by the Saul Zentz Company, demanding small businesses in the UK to stop using their trademarks. It doesn't matter in this case if the pub uses stills from the movies, because this is not Warner Bros sueing over copyrights of the Peter Jackson movies. The SZC acquired rights to the Hobbit and LOTR stories in '76, but never bothered enforcing them to small businesses, until well after Peter Jackson repopularized the stories (some 20 years after the pub started).

More proof that no one really cares about their stuff until they can see a way to make money from it. Sounds to me like SZC, after being openly exposed for their actions, is trying to fix what could end up being a PR nightmare. Plus, it's a chance to get in cozy with a few celeBRITies. And, like it was stated above, the pub gets some public notice as well. In the end, everyone makes money. Isn't that the way it should be?

Re:Misleading Cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448697)

No, they weren't just asking for $100, they were demanding to stop using "Hobbit" and all references to the book.

Did you even read the summary, you moron?

Re:Misleading Cause (1)

MisterMidi (1119653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448721)

Yes I did, did you? Nowhere does it say movie. Did you even follow the case? Guess not. The Sael Zaentz Company is not Warner Bros. The Sael Zaentz Company owns the rights to the Hobbit and LOTR stories, Warner Bros. owns the rights to the movies. Idiot.

Re:Misleading Cause (2)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448405)

Ever been to a pub? Ever seen anything hanging around that has a trademark/copyright on it an yet was not licensed in any way? (Yet is not advertisement given to them to promote sales directly) Almost every pub I go to has them.

What they want to do is get money. If they wanted, they could give it away for free, if that is what they actually wanted. They don't.

Oh how noble of him to ask ONLY $100. And he is apparently not even sure about that.

Re:Misleading Cause (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448291)

Do you honestly think you know more about this than Steven Fry?

Of course he does. Fry's a pizza delivery guy whose best friend is a robot. Anybody knows more about... oh wait a minute. This is a pub, right? Bender knows a lot about beer, so... yeah, maybe Steven has been coached about the topic by an expert after all. Nevermind, carry on.

Re:Misleading Cause (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448665)

Do you honestly think you know more about this than Steven Fry?

Using long words and having a posh accent doesn't make a person omniscient.

Re:Misleading Cause (1)

CoderJoe (97563) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448003)

Can you provide links to any of the promotional material that uses stills from the movies? I poked around on their site, and so far, all I have found are drawings and paintings. (Though the background on one looks very similar to Viggo Mortensen, though not exactly.)

Re:Misleading Cause (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448059)

It seems they have since removed some of the images from their site. When this issue first went viral, they had still images taken from the movies, such as Elijah Wood as Frodo, a still of the Boromir (the one usually associated with the Boromir "walk into Mordor" meme) and others that all advertised the Hobbit Pub and their products or upcoming live act performances. If you go back to he related headline above, you'll see others bringing this issue up at that time.

Re:Misleading Cause (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448095)

There ya go [hobbitpub.co.uk] , right on the top of main page.

IIRC, when the story first appeared on /., there were more stuff like that on front page - I remember a banner with Elijah Wood. If you dig around the site, you'll probably find more.

Think more carefully, please (1)

Shauni (1164077) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448123)

If this was just a dispute over promotional material, the pub wouldn't need any licensing fees at all -- it would just have to stop using the screencaps. The studio demanded the pub stop all references to all "trademarked" characters (which would require them to change drink names and the pub name), despite the fact that it's clearly had rights for less than the pub's been operation (20 years). That's not a debate over copyright imagery, and indeed the article calls it a "trademark dispute." That's just absurd. I only regret that Fry and McKellen are actually paying these trademark trolls.

Re:Misleading Cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448215)

... if I was one of the parties that ponied up hundreds of millions to make these films, I'd be a bit peeved by someone taking that work and using it without permission to make a profit.

You sound a little sociopathic, and your basis for ethics and morality is DEFINITELY not grounded in a reality the majority of human beings share. When you ride someone else's coattails, you should expect others to join the gravy train. Expecting different behavior from others that you practice yourself is not a healthy way for any person to exist in society.

Re:Misleading Cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448519)

It's not just the use of the name "The Hobbit" it's the use of Still Images from the LOTR movies in their promotional material. Essentially, these people are lifting copyrighted imagery and using it to promote themselves -- most definitely NOT cool and if I was one of the parties that ponied up hundreds of millions to make these films, I'd be a bit peeved by someone taking that work and using it without permission to make a profit.

Its called remixing. Deal with it.

Re:Misleading Cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448943)

The films are a decade old. The filmmakers have made their pile - they should be out of copyright. It's not like this pub is detracting from their royalties at all.

She should have kept her gobb shut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39447971)

Now that the copyright holders know there are people with money they'll be asking a lot more for the license.

No big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448015)

Haven't we seen all this before? The trademark owners have to do this to protect their rights, or they get diluted? Then afterwards to come to some reasonable arrangement?

Saul Zaentz's lack of character (4, Informative)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448029)

I'll mince no words: Saul Zaentz is and always has been an ahole. He only owns the rights to the film version of the book, he does not own the book. He ripped off Credence Clearwater's John Fogerty long ago, and then had the audacity to sue Fogerty for hundreds of millions, claiming John did not have the right to use his own riffs. He lost the suit but remained a complete dick. This man is the epitomy of wrong.

Re:Saul Zaentz's lack of character (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448329)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saul_Zaentz#The_Hobbit [wikipedia.org]

[...]In 2012, Zaentz' company began several legal actions against small businesses in the UK to enforce their "Hobbit" trade mark. Beginning with the Hungry Hobbit cafe[8][9] and a pub in Southampton, England, which had traded as The Hobbit for twenty years.[10] This raised the ire of many British correspondents such as Stephen Fry, who described it as "pointless, self-defeating bullying."[11][...]

Saul Zaentz is 91 and will die, hopefully, soon.

More details (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448121)

Website of the pub: http://www.hobbitpub.co.uk/" [hobbitpub.co.uk]

Most of the "infringing material" is mere fan art like this graffiti in the beer garden: http://www.hobbitpub.co.uk/gallery/hobbitgraffiti/67/

Even thought it is just a drawing they were asked to over-paint it.

Here is a still from the movie used as background for a card: http://www.hobbitpub.co.uk/hobbit-cocktails/

That's pretty much it.

I think Steven Fry and Sir Ian McKellen are right when they call the claims "petty". How many pubs are there with images of e.g. Elvis Presley? I am sure someone has a copyright to them as well. So all auxiliary lawyers here should calm the f*** down.

Ian McKellen is getting good at playing... (4, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448195)

...an old guy who stands in front of implacable foes. Granted, lawyers are worse than ancient supernatural fire demons.

The sad thing about this thing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448235)

Is how much people still use "gay" as an insult of sorts.

These guys are made from solid class.

Repony (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448709)

"Repony" isn't a word. "Prancing Pony" is two, though.

Repony? WTF does that mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448717)

Repony? Really?

Queer Idea (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448733)

Imagine I were to open a theme pub where whenever someone orders a certain drink its name flashes on a screen and a buzzer sounds, and all the staff talk like pretentious knobheads except for one who acts intentionally obtuse.

What would Mr Fry think about that?

the clue is in the name (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448793)

Zaentz, another "american" Jew

there is a reason Jews where thrown out of the temple, and have been the target of hate ever since, and it isnt bad breath.

Clarifying A Few Things (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448851)

I feel I should address some of the issues raised in these comments. Firstly, the lawsuit was threatened because of their name. Second, the letter Mr Zaentz sent us was certainly NOT amicable, but we're not allowed to share it for legal reasons. Regarding use of images from the movie, perhaps that wasn't very well thought through, but anyone who has been to the pub could tell you that the places these images are used don't really have a bearing on sales at all - people don't buy loyalty cards because they've got Elijah Wood's face on, and nor do they buy an Aragorn drink simply because the poster has Viggo Mortensen's face on it. The pub has never tried to piggy-back on the movies' success. It's just a slightly geeky pub run by Tolkien fans for students who wouldn't see it changed for the world. Perhaps there have been some foolish but well-meaning errors committed. There are bigger things to deal with in the world of IP than small British pubs.

What next, Comic Con? (2)

Cazekiel (1417893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449007)

Good. I find it ridiculous that this pub can be in existence for so long without one hushed word from Tolkien's people, then BANG, IZZA MOVIE and those involved in the film (The Money) start throwing their toys out of the pram. The only way I could see this as a problem is if the place was built less than ten years ago, with every inch of wall space coated in movie stills and there was hard evidence that the pub somehow affected New Line's economic climate. Everyone involved in the films does understand how much money they've made in the last 13 years, correct? Hell, in a perfect world, people and businesses SHOULD be able to cash in on the freakin' films; we're all owed for the trickling-in of the first DVD release then OH, here's the extended edition... oh hey, five years later, theatrical... you've made your nickel, guys, let it go.

OB: H2G2 (2)

laejoh (648921) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449167)

I can imagine the owners of http://www.hotblackdesiato.co.uk/ [hotblackdesiato.co.uk] getting scared too :)
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